Hunter Hockey, Jets beat Caps 4-3 (OT)

Photo credit: Rob Carr

Last time the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets met, Ovechkin got taunted and the Caps lost a slot in the standings. The Caps remembered and came out swinging this game. But then Dale Hunter enacted his formula for something, and everything went to hell.

Thanks to Jeff Halpern, Jason Chimera went cruising along in the O-zone, tucking the puck behind Pavelec with his backhand. Alex Ovechkin recorded two consecutive goals in the second– a subtle wristshot and a loud 6-on-5 one-timer. The Jets rallied back with goals from Maxwell and Little before the second intermission. The Caps had literally no offense (seriously, none) in third until Spencer Machacek tied it up.

Into overtime, where Stapleton won it. Jets beat Caps 4-3 (OT).

  • Dustin Byfuglien has been effective against the Caps this season, but his …uhh… gravitational pull kept him well behind the play for Jason Chimera’s screaming breakaway goal.
  • Alex Ovechkin has 8 goals in his last 6 games and is riding a four-game goal streak.  That hot streak began started right after the Washington Post ran that brimstone-scented condemnation on March 10. Ovechkin was good on both ends of the ice tonight, blocking shots in front of Neuvy and rubbing his belly in front of Ondrej.
  • Ovi was a force of nature, but he and his team were promptly quelled. After that third goal, the Caps did what they have done all season– playing hockey like making friends on the first day of school: shy, meek, shuffling their feet. That de-escalation allowed the Jets to erase the buffer that Ovechkin created in the second period and swarm through most of the third.
  • Seriously, the Caps didn’t have a shot on goal in the third until almost 17 minutes in. That final period saw shots go 17-2. Is this who our team is now? Is this an identity that the players and fans can rally around?
  • Brooks Laich fought Jim Slater. No punches landed. We have exclusive video:

  • Both Mike Knuble and Alex Semin had their advances on Pavelec’s net rebuffed by the scourge we know as teh Post. These two golden chances, both born of sandpaper and insight, would have been goals in a universe that does not hate us. We live not in such a universe.
  • Kanooble served on the top line, had muy muy scoring chances, and an assist on the first Ovechkin tally. It’s finally Knuble weather in DC.

 

Upside-down Joe B suit of the night

The Capitals did it again: they came out tough, and then they retreated. Call it sitting back, playing tight, being conservative. You can argue the vocabulary or the philosophy; all we see are the results. By generating little offense late in the second and none in the third, the Caps let a dominating 3-goal lead evaporate.

It’s not a working strategy. It’s a formula for losers, and it is contrary to the instincts of this team.

This loss isn’t a failure of leadership, of lacking effort, or holey goaltending. This was a deliberate release of the game’s direction by Coach Dale Hunter.

But thanks to Erik Cole’s tour du chapeau naturel, the Habs destroyed the Senators, so our boys gained a little ground. But Vezina lock Henrik Lundqvist gave up 4 to the Sabres, so the Caps are now beating Buffalo for 8th place by a mere tiebreaker.

Here’s our 2nd period intermission video, featuring Coolio!

  • j4ester

    17 shots to our 2 in the 3rd…wow. Pathetic.

  • http://twitter.com/brightestcolour Laurel

    This game infuriated me. I could see the tying goal coming from the second the Caps stopped trying to control play and just sat back and let the Jets get chance after chance after chance.

    The Capitals team isn’t built for spending entire periods playing shutdown defense. They have one solid checking line in Chimera-Laich-Ward, which hasn’t existed in a long time, and one very good shutdown defenseman in Alzner (not to denigrate the rest of our defensive defensemen, but they’re not shutdown guys).  The real power in the Caps lies in their scorers, both up front and on the blue line.  Let them play offensive hockey and they do well–they can put tons of pressure on the opposing team’s defense and goaltender and keep the play away from their own end.  Tell them to sit back and just stop the other team and they’re the ones getting worn down and giving up chances. This really is a team where their best defense is playing offense.  They should be controlling play and putting up insurance goals, not just waiting for the inevitable.

    If the fans can see this–and we can–why the hell can’t Dale Hunter?

  • Billy Thompson

     what he said.  terrible.

  • bailamos?

    Bailamos? No. No quiero bailar :-((((((

  • http://twitter.com/DCRothman David Rothman

    So you think Hunter told the Caps to turn the puck over at the blue line repeatedly? They didn’t get shots because they couldn’t hold on to the puck.

  • Anonymous

    Running 3 lines on the second night of back to back games probably works in that alternate universe of which you speak.

  • http://twitter.com/FedFedRMNB Feds

    I don’t understand why Hunter put Johansson and Ovechkin together in the OT. It’s not a good combo of a VERY offensive-minded forward and less offensive-minded, but very small forward. Should’ve been 90-25, 21-8, 15-28 and 85-20.

  • JessHughes

    I was at the at the game and gracefully beg to differ on Ovi on defense.  Other than a few bursts, he glided around the defensive zone.  And I think he actually shrugged as if to say, “I don’t know what my assignment is” on the Jets’ OTGWG.  And Alzner’s the only D-man that should get paid for the 2nd 2 periods.

  • Dark Stranger

    Back at the beginning of the year, Hendricks and Beagle were on the 4th line.  And now those 2 (along with Brouwer) get second line minutes and tonight actually got first line minutes.  The only scorer on that line is Brouwer who’s cooled off from his hot start from earlier this year.  

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  • Avtopilot

    Totally agree. Its like bycicle – you stop moving, you fall. Why do we need to invent the bycicle again, Mr. Hunter?

  • serpent

    Ditto. Almost as ugly as Slater.

  • http://twitter.com/VeggieTart Danielle

    Haven’t they learned that this sitting back bullshit doesn’t freaking work?  They burned a team who did that.  

    Oh, for you stats keepers:  This is the first game all season that the Caps had a lead going into the third and did not win.  Who drew up that fercockta third period game plan because I want his ass on a platter.

  • capcup12

    Winnipeg is clearly in that universe of which you speak.  Carlson, Wideman, Schultz are in a universe of their very own…I think it is somewhere on a flea biting the neck hairs of that elephant Horton.  (And now, a commercial interruption from the Optimist Guy: “Hey, guys, don’t be sad…did you really expect this Titanic of a hockey team to pick up a point in BIG BAD PHILLY?? Of course, you didn’t–so let’s just transfer the Loser/Panther Point from that game to last night’s and pretend we beat the Jets!”)

    That sound you just heard was me pelting Optmist Guy in the face with a puck.  Mine didn’t hit the goddamn post.

  • Scottrun311

     Good ol’ prevent defense. In any sport, the only thing it does is prevent you from winning. See what I did there?

  • serpent

    Maybe Hunter just wants to get the season over with and go back to the Knights?

  • Livia

    I probably should know, but who is that with Peter in the second intermission vlog?

  • Livia

    At least the Caps were not the only team to lose to a team lower in the standings last night. In fact, this was the case in all six NHL games played .

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